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Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Process Frequently Asked Questions

We know members of our community have questions about the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Process. Please see below for answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.

FACULTY

When will the recommended reductions, if adopted, be implemented?

The majority of the recommended reductions are slated to take place over the next two fiscal years (FY 21-22 and FY 22-23). However, some of these full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty reductions implemented through attrition will also continue to occur up to and during FY 23-24, as faculty members voluntarily leave Ithaca College. The recommendation is that 24 of the lines that are vacated through attrition over the three-year period not be filled, and that a college-level committee be established to carefully allocate faculty positions, during this critical three-year period and going forward. This will ensure that the size of the faculty remains in ongoing alignment with the changing size of the student body.   

How and when will I know whether my position is being discontinued?  

Discussions continue between deans and department chairs about how to carry out the reductions necessary. Any full-time continuing faculty in notice-appointment positions (e.g., NTEN) whose positions are discontinued will be formally notified in writing no later than March 1. Faculty in full-time term positions or part-time positions will be notified in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (by March 1 for full-time and June 1 for part-time contingent faculty). 

What resources will the College make available for faculty whose employment will be terminated?

Members of IC’s Human Resources team have worked with APPIC and the deans to create a resource guide for terminated and non-renewed faculty (faculty access only). Among the resources are: information on continuing health insurance coverage, information on applying for unemployment benefits, and resources for exploring future employment options. The HR team is available to faculty members who have questions.

How are the FTE reductions allocated among part-time and other faculty positions?  

When compared to the current-year faculty FTE figure, the recommended reductions (including by attrition) will result in approximately 36 part-time and overload FTE and 80 voluntary and involuntary full-time FTE.

How much money will be saved by the reductions?

Once fully implemented, the recommended reductions will result in $7 million to $8 million of ongoing annual savings.

Will the recommended cuts negatively affect the diversity of the faculty?
The recommended cuts do not result in marked changes to the percentages of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and international faculty. Most notably, no involuntary reductions were made to tenured or tenure-eligible positions, preserving recent gains towards the college’s diversity goals.

Why weren’t the recommended cuts divided equally among the schools?   

APPIC was guided by the APP principles and the mission, vision, and values articulated in the Ithaca Forever strategic plan, and therefore did not conceptualize reductions according to school boundaries. Disciplines are very different, with some requiring lower student to faculty ratios than others, and our students take classes across schools. APPIC looked at all available data along with department and dean input holistically to make its recommendations. 

How do these recommendations promote interdisciplinarity?

The recommendations include suggestions to increase curricular flexibility, to implement more consistent course schedules that could enable students to take classes across schools and programs more easily, and to examine school and departmental affiliations that might currently present barriers to shared, interdisciplinary initiatives and curricular development. Some programs will realize greater opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary partnerships as they revise their programs, and others may realize these opportunities later, if they revise programs and find more streamlined ways to deliver them. Some of these benefits will take time to realize, and they may appear counter-intuitive to the challenges presented by the current circumstances in which we find ourselves needing to make faculty reductions. Over time, however, the restructure/reorganize and growth phases of the work that will follow the necessary realignment should structurally support interdisciplinarity.

Are we going to eliminate any schools? 

These recommendations do not include the elimination of any of IC’s schools, although APPIC does recommend that the college’s administrative structures be examined.

Why are there no recommendations to eliminate administrators?  

The work of the APPIC during the past few months has been to develop recommendations specifically to align the size of the faculty to the projected size of the student body. Evaluating administrative structures across the college in the next steps of strategic plan implementation may reveal opportunities for changes in administrative resources. Additionally, administrative reductions have taken place and will continue to do so as part of the nonacademic review process, which is not under the purview of the APPIC.

Provost Cornish has mentioned Phase II and Phase III of the APP Process.  When will Phase II and Phase III take place, and what is the timeline for those phases?

Phase II: “Restructure and Reorganize” and Phase III: “Growth” will begin immediately after Phase I and overlap, at times running concurrently.

Do these recommended changes mean that my classes will now be larger lectures? 

Ithaca College is committed to providing a personalized educational experience for our students highlighted by close relationships between faculty members and their students. The change in student to faculty ratio will mean that IC will return to similar student to faculty ratios experienced by IC students in the past decade and the ratio will be comparable to those at other institutions our size or smaller. As is always the case, class size varies depending on pedagogical needs of particular classes and disciplines, but, overall, our average class size will remain small. The recommended changes align the size of our faculty with our smaller student body.

This document seems to be stepping into the area of curriculum.  Isn’t curricular design primarily the purview of faculty who possess expertise in the discipline? For example, the suggestion of changing courses from primarily 3-credits each to primarily 4-credits each relates to the design and delivery of curriculum. 

The APPIC is not suggesting that faculty must initiate curricular redesign to achieve 4-credits per course. This is one suggestion for faculty to consider if the president and provost were to accept and implement a college-wide expectation that tenured and tenure-eligible faculty would teach 20- or 21-credits per year. Such a credit shift might have the effect of reducing the number of different courses (and the total number of students) a faculty member teaches at a given time, and it may also reduce the total number of different courses a student might be completing during a semester. However, it is also possible that a shared (or similar) college-wide teaching load expectation could be implemented without this change.

CONTINUING STUDENTS

When will faculty, students, staff, families, alumni, and other members of the Ithaca College community know which majors are being discontinued or re-envisioned?

Final decisions regarding these matters will be announced by President Collado and Provost Cornish by February 24, 2021, following an iterative, consultative process that observes the guiding principles developed by the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) Strategic Plan Action Group in the 2019-2020 academic year.

When majors are discontinued, will the current students in those programs be able to finish and graduate? Will they be grandfathered into the program?

If you are enrolled in an Ithaca College major that is scheduled to be substantially revised or discontinued, the process will be exactly as it has always been when we revise or discontinue admission to a program: We ensure that every student enrolled in that major is supported in completing their planned program. We have made a commitment to offering you the program you declared as your major, consistent with the catalog year in which you were accepted into that major.

At IC, we regularly amend our programs, and as we revise and update programs throughout the year, we ensure that all our current students can complete the program in which they are enrolled. If the program is revised and not discontinued, students within that program can elect to update their catalog year if they prefer the revised program’s curriculum. We have a solid track record of supporting students through these transitions. 

Will I need to transfer to another school if my program is revised or discontinued?

No. As described above, we will support the student experience in programs that are being revised or discontinued. 

There is so much value to liberal arts in conjunction with "career-focused" degrees. Will programs in the liberal arts departments, specifically in the humanities and social sciences, be cut dramatically as is happening at some other colleges I’ve read about?

We agree with our stakeholders about the essential nature of study in the liberal arts and both its inherent value as well as its value to our professional programs. The recommendations included in the “Shape of the College,” retain the focus on our identity as a comprehensive institution that supports our mission to “educate, engage, and empower through theory, practice, and performance.” Our commitment to academic excellence, and our history as an institution of higher education, requires that we prepare all students with a robust grounding in the liberal arts. We remain unwavering in our commitment to the liberal arts.

What happens to a student if they have to take an additional semester or year to complete their coursework due to challenges associated with the pandemic and/or remote learning?

If a student requires an unexpectedly extended period of time to complete their major, our faculty advisors and administration will support that student individually. This has occasionally occurred in the past for students whose graduation was delayed for unavoidable reasons during which time the curriculum was amended. We commit to supporting our students and do not retire our offerings from the NYSED inventory until all enrolled students have completed the major.

Undergraduate students at Ithaca College in 2020-2021 are also benefiting this year from the availability of free Winter/Summer course credits to enhance their studies. See our Office of Extended Studies page for details on this special offering intended to support student success during the pandemic.

What happens to students who have not yet identified their “forever” major? Will students in the Exploratory Program still have the ability to choose from all the programs that were available, or will they not be able to get into those programs that are closing?

Students in the Exploratory Program will be able to request a change of major for majors that are available as of the catalog year in which they declare that major. This has always been, and continues to be, our practice. Programs can, and do, put limits on transfers into particular programs (due to capacity issues or curricular revisions, for example), and this should be expected for some high-demand majors, as is typical.

What if a student is in the Integrative Studies program and is required to take courses from different departments? What if one of those departments has already lost faculty and is no longer offering classes needed for graduation?

Students in Integrative Studies programs create a robust plan of coursework for their self-designed major, which is then submitted for review/approval by the Integrative Studies Advisory Board and the Associate Dean in the School of Humanities and Sciences. When departments decide to refresh their offerings and add/delete classes that might have been included in a student’s original, approved plan, Integrative Studies students, working with their advisors, propose adjustments to their plans as needed and submit those revisions for approval via a routine process. This standard practice will be no different this year or next year.

Can I major in one of the programs recommended for discontinuance?

If you wish to change your major, you may request a change of major into any major available in the college catalog as of the catalog year in which the transfer is requested. If you are considering a change of major into a program that has been identified for discontinuation, you should note that some programs limit transfers into programs due to capacity issues or forthcoming curricular revisions, so please consult with your advisor or Dean’s Office as you make plans.

The Shape of the College Recommendations makes reference to the retention of tenured and tenure-eligible faculty. What is a tenured or tenure-eligible faculty member?

Faculty members who have earned the distinction of tenure are considered to hold continuous appointments, and they are renewed annually by the college until retirement, subject to the terms and conditions found in the Policy Manual. 

At the college, the clinical faculty and ranked academic faculty can hold a variety of ranks (e.g., Lecturer, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor). 

In addition to the ranks they hold, faculty are hired to meet particular curricular and staffing needs of the college; the types of faculty appointments offered are based, in part, on the anticipated duration of the staffing need. You are encouraged to review the Faculty Handbook to learn more about the definitions and types of appointments for IC faculty members. 

Some types of faculty appointments are contracted for fixed periods of time (e.g., term appointments and part-time per-course appointments) to address short-term staffing needs. Other types of faculty appointments are considered “notice” appointments, and these include both tenure-eligible appointments and non-tenure-eligible appointments, each of which are reviewed at regular intervals for both the performance of the faculty member and the continued staffing needs of the College. 

What is the value of my degree if my program is discontinued?

It is expected that the changes proposed in the “Shape of the College” would collectively strengthen the Ithaca College reputation for future generations of students. Over our extended history, programs have emerged and been discontinued, via regular processes of curricular revision, and these transitions did not diminish the value of the Ithaca College degrees our alumni have earned. These changes represent the ways academic institutions refresh over time. Ensuring that the institution remains strong helps assure the continuing value of an Ithaca College degree.

NEW/PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

I am applying to Ithaca College and hope to enroll in Fall 2021. What happens if the major to which I’ve applied is listed for discontinuation in February, after the APP decisions have been made? 

Undergraduate programs identified for discontinuation via the APP process will stop admitting new students to their programs effective Fall 2022. Therefore, program changes announced in February 2021 will not affect undergraduate students participating in the Fall 2021 admission cycle. 

Separately, faculty within programs regularly make curricular changes (updating majors and minors, shifting the portfolio of majors and minors they offer, examining capacity issues, etc.), and some of those changes will be effective Fall 2021. If a major program stops accepting new students as a result of our routine process of curricular updating, any student who applied to that program will be made aware of this change and invited to be considered for a different program. If a student has already been admitted to IC, and the major program to which they applied is no longer accepting new students, we will ask how they wish to change their major and will offer alternatives. We will be timely with communication to students about changes to programs they anticipate entering. 

Approximately 40% of students change their majors after they enroll at the College—some (about 20%) even before they arrive for their first day of classes. We are always happy to support our students who change majors.

If you are a Fall 2021 applicant, we hope you are reassured that the APP process will not affect your entry into the major in which you have been accepted.

ALUMNI

What is the value of my degree if my program is discontinued?

It is expected that the changes proposed in the “Shape of the College” would collectively strengthen Ithaca College for future generations of students. Over our extended history, programs have emerged and been discontinued, via regular processes of curricular revision, and these transitions did not diminish the value of the Ithaca College degrees our alumni have earned. These changes represent the ways academic institutions refresh over time. Ensuring that the institution remains strong helps assure the continuing value of an Ithaca College degree.

Community members

What will happen to the Longview/Ithaca College partnership?

This partnership is highly valued by Ithaca College, as it is by the Longview community. The traditional partnership will be preserved, although the Gerontology Institute will be restructured. We will continue to provide updates to our partners at Longview during the time of transition.